By Sebidde Kiryowa
What exactly is the Uganda North American Association (UNAA) Convention all about? It is a gathering of Ugandans in the US coming together to bring the house down, dancing and making merry. Right?
Not exactly. The conference is an annual gathering of Ugandans and friends both in the Diaspora and from Uganda, held every Labour Day weekend in different cities in North America.
It has been called the premier Ugandan networking event in the world because it brings leading Ugandan voices from around the world.
This year due to internal bickering, two conventions were held. The official UNAA convention took place at the swanky Regency Hyatt Hotel while the other, organized by UNAA Causes, the breakaway faction, was held at the Marriot Hotel down the same street - the La Jolla Drive.
You would be surprised by the number of Ugandans who come from Uganda to attend the official UNAA conference. The majority of these are of course high level Government dignitaries and business people.
The later, led by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and wife Amama Mbabazi, also included Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Youth minister Ronald Kibule, Christine Aporu (Teso affairs state minister), Rebecca Artemu, Barbara Oundo (state minister for Karamoja), Sarah Kataike (health state minister – general duties), Richard Todwong (Minister without Portfolio), Rebecca Amuge (state minister for Northern Uganda), Hillary Onek (Minister for Disaster Preparedness), Ernest Kiiza (State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs) and trade and tourism minister Maria Mutagamba.
Members of Parliament included Vincent Bagire, Rose Akol, Jovia Kamateka, Jack Wamai Wamanga, Innocent Oura, Okot Flex Ogong, Adong Lilly, Mohammed Nsereko, Nabila Nagayi Ssempala, Mariam Nalubega, Steven Baka Mugabe, Wilberforce Yaguma, Peter Mugema and Arinaitwe Kajara.
The list of businessmen was probably just as long. Notable among these were Bulaimu Kibirige (BMK), Hajji Musa Katongole, Sam Senkayi of Hardware World, Slyvia Owori and George Mutebi of Cheap Hardware.
Others came in from different government departments and Non Governmental organisations.
Ugandans in the Diaspora came from all over North America and as far as Europe.
UNAA: Speech by the Minister of State for Higher Education Dr. John.C. Muyingo
Detractors will not derail UNAA from its mission
UNAA is much more than just a one weekend party - Kwesiga